Energy studies for sugar factories.

Sugar factories are energy intensive process plants whether their raw material is sugar beet, sugar cane or raw cane sugar. There are two major demands for thermal energy - heating the raw material and evaporating water. By careful design it is possible to do a large proportion of the raw material heating in beet factories or cane mills using "waste" heat leaving the process. Similar attention to the evaporation and crystallisation stages minimises the amount of steam needed to achieve the process objectives. Even the UN have an opinion on the variability of energy and water demand !

Using tools such as process modelling (for example with Sugars software) and process integration (for example with Supertarget software for Pinch Analysis from Linnhoff March) I can work with you to evolve a design that will reduce the energy consumption towards "best practice" levels or to the optimum appropriate to your fuel costs and financial position.

Energy is a key cost in many sugar factories, usually the 2nd or 3rd highest operating cost after the cost of raw material. In cane mills the bagasse provides fuel but many mills find themselves burning fossil fuels such as coal in addition to the bagasse.
In some regions the energy from bagasse can be used to generate substantial quantities of electricity for sale, in "cogeneration" schemes. By minimising the process steam demand of the mill more steam is available to drive the condensing turbine of the cogeneration system, leading to greater electricity export and hence more revenue.

As part of an energy study I also address management issues - who is responsible for energy consumption ? what is the target level ? what measurements are available ? how is energy data reported and to whom ? These questions and many more can lead to significant improvements at minimal capital cost. Similarly training of operators and engineers can be a key part of an energy improvement strategy.

Technology can also play an important role, from flow meters on water additions to the process through to large falling film plate evaporators for efficient heat transfer at low temperature difference. Each technology is applicable to different circumstances and I have a wide range of experience, both of technologies and of circumstances.

We should also remember the utility systems - an energy efficient boiler or set of prime mover turbines can also make a substantial improvement to fuel costs in appropriate cases.

So, if you are concerned about your energy consumption or if you want to ensure that you next project is as efficient as it can be - I can be contacted by fax on +44 1780 783889 or by email

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